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 Crime and Punishment October 2009


            Things seem to have calmed down a bit in terms of some of the worst of the violence our community experienced during the late summer.  I am pleased to pass on a sample of a variety of the work being done recently by a wide cross-section of our department’s personnel.  You’ll note I have included several examples of cases being handled by our detectives.  Being an investigator with our department is a particularly challenging and often thankless assignment.  It involves rigorously pursuing any and all leads, as well as lengthy and often tedious follow-up work--which includes conducting numerous interviews, writing detailed supplemental reports, and working closely with the District Attorney’s Office.  Our detectives are a highly skilled and extremely dedicated group of individuals who do a lot of the “behind the scenes” work critical for getting charges filed against individuals who have committed all types of crimes.   

            As always, I invite you to contact me if you have any questions or would like any additional information.  Enjoy the rest of October!

Chief Chris Magnus

Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 2:00 p.m., 15th St. and Macdonald Ave.—Officer J. Clark observed a vehicle with a 2010 registration tab displayed on a vehicle that had only 2008 registration per the DMV.  He conducted an enforcement stop to enforce the violation and learned that the driver was on active parole.  A parole search of the subject and his vehicle lead to the discovery of a prescription bottle with 65 rocks of base cocaine in the center console, as well as an additional package of base cocaine in the trunk along with a package of methamphetamine.  Just under 10 grams of meth and 26.5 grams of cocaine were also seized.  The suspect was booked into jail and Narcotics detectives were notified. 


Officers William Cantrell and Eric Haupt Achieve Career Milestone—On October 5, 2009, Officer William Cantrell and Det. Eric Haupt, both 16 year veterans with the Richmond Police Department, were recognized by the department during a special ceremony attended by their peers and others for achieving the status of “Master Police Officer.”  Cantrell and Haupt are among only 23 individuals over the history of the department to achieve this distinction. 

            The qualifications for attaining “Master Police Officer” status are significant.  Some of these qualifications include possessing an Advanced POST certificate, qualifying for and receiving a permanent career incentive, having no substantiated excessive force complaints within the past two years, having successfully participated in a minimum of two specialist assignments, having served as a certified field or police training officer, performing 85% or better at the last annual firearms qualification, passing a rigorous physical fitness test, and numerous additional standards.

            Congratulations to both these officers!  


Alleged Hate Crime Update, Pt. Isabel Park:  On August 22, 2009, Detective Cooper was called out to investigate an assault involving a possible hate crime at Pt Isabel State Park.  The investigation revealed that a verbal argument between a white male suspect and a black female victim ensued after the victim’s dog had abruptly jumped onto the suspect.  During the argument, the suspect allegedly yelled racial slurs toward the victim, while reportedly striking her numerous times across her  head and body. At the time, there were numerous witnesses who observed parts of this altercation.


Detective Cooper authored a search warrant for the suspect’s home, but nothing of evidentiary value was located or seized.  During a follow-up interview, the suspect admitted to losing his temper, but vehemently denied striking the victim and/or using any racial slurs.


Detectives Cooper, Smith, and Funk conducted extensive follow-up that included re-interviewing the victim and the witnesses.  During the course of their investigation, it was discovered the victim had initially embellished her statements, since she later acknowledged she had not heard any racial terms used against her by the suspect. When informed there were conflicting witness accounts of the incident, the victim declared that she no longer wanted to pursue criminal charges. The case was presented to Deputy District Attorney Simpson on August 31, 2009, who declined to issue charges.



Caught On Camera!  Monday, October 5, 2009, 5 p.m., Alamo Ave.—RPD Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras recorded a video of a Hispanic male dumping debris from his truck at the east end of Alamo Ave.  The license plate could not be read, but the truck description was distinct in of itself.  The vehicle was an older model Toyota-type small truck with wood sides on the cargo bed.  It was also two different colors:  the cab was silver and the cargo bed was white with a black stripe.  After viewing the CCTV video, Det. Silva drove to the area of the dumping with the intention of trying to find an address in the material that was dumped as well as to talk with residents in that area of Alamo.  Det. Silva was stopped at the red light at Pennsylvania and Harbour Way when the suspect truck seen in the CCTV video was observed westbound over the 13th St. overpass.  The truck pulled into the gas station at the intersection, at which time Det. Silva pulled in behind it. 

The driver who was wearing the same clothes as in the video (even including the gloves).  He was identified as a 31 year-old Richmond resident.  The suspect did not have a Commercial Drivers License and the truck was out of registration since Jan. 2009.  The vehicle was towed and placed on a 30 day hold.  This case will be presented for prosecution.


Juvenile Robbers Nabbed and Charged—200 block of S. 8th St.--On August 14, 2009, patrol officers responded to a robbery of an ice cream vendor.  The report indicated that four juveniles chased and hit the victim with sticks and stones while the victim attempted to defend himself and his property.  After a valiant fight, the victim fled and abandoned his ice cream cart.  Once the victim was out of sight, the suspects began pilfering through the frozen goods.  Officers quickly arrived and took the four juvenile felons into custody.  The victim identified each of the assailants.  Detective Smith interviewed each of the juveniles leading to two confessions and one apology letter.  In September, each of the four suspects were charged with one count each of robbery related to this crime.


October 6, 2009, 8:00 a.m., 35th St. at Wall Ave.--  Officers Peterson and Lewis stopped the suspect for committing several California Vehicle Code violations on his bicycle.  The suspect lied about his name to conceal the fact that he was a Parolee At Large.  As the officers began to challenge his verbal identity, the suspect violently resisted and had to be physically detained.  He was taken into custody and booked on his No Bail Warrant.  Officer Lewis documented the incident and a Use of Force Form was completed.


Recovering Stolen Vehicles in Richmond--August 21, 2009—The Vehicle Suppression Enforcement Team (VSET), a collaborative effort to recover stolen vehicles that involves officers working together from multiple law enforcement agencies, was held in Richmond.  A total of 24 officers from 14 different agencies participated.  There were 89 traffic stops and 13 stolen vehicles were recovered.  An arrest for  vehicle theft was also made.  The license plate reader equipment was utilized to scan 10,964 plates.


September 24, 2009, Black Feather Dr.—A residential burglary occurred on this street and the investigators assigned to the case later found the victim’s items listed for sale on the Craigslist website.  Detective Hall made arrangements to meet the suspect in Emeryville.  Detective Lopez and Hall went undercover in a rental vehicle and had an arrest team of Sergeant Monahan, Sergeant Silva, and Detective(s) Reina and Llamas in the area watching the transaction.  The computer the suspect brought with him was identified as belonging to the victim through the serial number.  The suspect was arrested and found to be in possession of other property belonging to the victim.  Inside the suspect’s vehicle, additional items were recovered that belonged to the victim.

Detective Hall authored and executed two search warrants:  one for the suspect’s home and the other for his car.  On October 1, 2009, Detective Hall learned that the Berkeley Police had a Ramey Warrant for the suspect which was not in the system yet.  Apparently the suspect allegedly committed an armed robbery in Berkeley.


Homicide Update—August 30, 2009, Alvarado Bar and Grill, 12889 San Pablo Ave.-- 32 year-old Intiaz Ahmed and 23 year-old Alvaro Garcia were shot and killed while sitting in the Alvarado Bar and Grill.  Both victims were shot at close range and both exhibited signs of gang affiliation. Three witnesses were located and interviewed.  An in-field lineup and search warrants were conducted resulting in four gang members being arrested while they were burning clothing items.  In addition, several firearms were confiscated. The suspects were charged with murder and several special circumstance enhancements, including gang enhancements.  Detective Johanson was the lead investigator assigned to this case.


September 2, 2009, S. 37th St. and Wall Ave.--A Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) officer was monitoring the CCTV video feeds when he noticed a group of males standing on the corner of S. 37th St. and Wall Ave. These individuals were all looking in a northwesterly direction. Two of the black males then ran northbound. The CCTV officer tracked their direction of travel and zoomed the cameras slightly ahead of them to see what was going on.

            The CCTV officer then saw another group of about five males standing around a male who was lying on his stomach in the center of the southbound lane of S. 37th Street.  All of the males were kicking the victim.  The CCTV officer immediately broadcast this information over the police radio.

            The group of five males walked away from the victim in a celebratory manner.  The victim lay motionless and helpless.  The two males who were running toward the victim passed the group that had just left the victim.  The first suspect to reach the victim kicked the victim on the right side of his torso, without even slowing down.  The next suspect to reach the victim jumped high in the air and stomped the victim viciously on the head.  This suspect pivoted and then kicked the victim on the left side of his head with such force that the victim’s entire body moved several inches.

            The CCTV officer tracked the suspects back to the corner of S.37th St. and Wall Ave. The CCTV officer was sure to get close up views of all the suspects as they were celebrating and reenacting their attack on the victim.  After getting good views of the suspects and putting out a detailed description of them over the radio, the CCTV Officer panned the camera back to the victim to check his welfare.  Seconds later Officer Schlemmer arrived on his motorcycle.  The CCTV officer immediately panned back to where the suspects had been, but the suspects were no longer within camera view.

            As other RPD units arrived and detained possible suspects, the CCTV officer made still-shot photographs of the suspects and sent them to the scene for identification purposes. Two of the primary suspects were identified immediately.  The remainder of the suspects were identified by beat officers at a later time.  The victim sustained severe injuries including a fractured orbital bone as a result of the assault.  A Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney filed Felony Assault with Great Bodily Injury and Assault with a Deadly Weapon (not a firearm) charges against the suspects.  Warrants were issued for the outstanding suspects.


September 29, 2009, Harbour Way and Pennsylvania Ave.-- A CCTV officer reviewed recorded footage of a carjacking that occurred the previous night at this location. The suspect in this case was spotted by officers and led the officers on a high speed pursuit. The suspect’s attempts to evade arrest were unsuccessful. The suspect was arrested.  The CCTV officer found excellent footage of the suspect’s initial  approach to the victim’s vehicle and the taking of the vehicle.  This footage was provided to the Robbery Unit detectives for follow-up.


A Week with the Central District Bike/Foot Patrol Beat Officers—Highlights of some of the activity that Officers Stonebreaker and Evans were involved over a week’s period in late September:


Sept. 22, 2009—The officers made a pedestrian stop on 25th at Macdonald.  They contacted an adult male who turned out to be in possession of a .32 caliber pistol and also had an outstanding felony warrant for $100,000.00 out of Solano County for explosives.  This individual was taken into custody and booked without incident.


Sept. 23, 2009—The officers arrested an adult female at 23rd and Macdonald on a No Bail warrant. They also conducted six traffic enforcement stops and issued five citations utilizing their bikes. 


Sept. 24, 2009—The officers contacted a known violent offender in the area of 4th and Bissell streets.  This subject was in possession of 18 rocks of cocaine and a large bag of cocaine weighing approximately 8 grams. He also had a No Bail warrant out of Solano County.


Sept. 29, 2009—The officers contacted an individual in the area of 2nd and Nevin streets and found him to be in possession of 22 baggies of marijuana.


Sept. 30, 2009—The officers conducted a traffic stop (on their bikes) and contacted an adult male who they discovered had a No Bail warrant out of Contra Costa County.


Oct. 1, 2009—The officers attended a neighborhood meeting at the Barrett Apts. as well as a Parole meeting in the afternoon.


Each day the officers stopped in to the Richmond PAL One-stop Youth Center and spent time with the youth at the facility, as well as getting to know the faculty there.  They also met with facilitators at the Nevin Community Center.